Glossary - Tenancy by the Entirety

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Tenancy by the Entirety

A tenancy by the entirety may only be created by a married couple. In a tenancy by the entirety, spouses own property together and each spouse has an undivided, complete interest in the property. Because of this, neither spouse may give away or sell his or her interest in the property without the express permission of the other spouse. When one spouse dies, the other takes on a full and automatic ownership interest in the whole of the property through a right of survivorship.

In a tenancy by the entirety, the spouses own the property together as a single entity in the eyes of the law. This means that creditors of an individual spouse cannot reach that spouse’s interest in the property. Only creditors of both spouses together may reach the property. In the case of divorce or annulment, couples generally eliminate the tenancy by the entirety. Couples also might change the title of the property together to eliminate the tenancy by the entirety.